Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Free" Trade ?

 Six African countries who had been threatened with losing access to the European single market have finally agreed to sign the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). But the continent may suffer as a result. In July, the EU had upped the pressure on six African governments, threatening to suspend their single market access if they had not ratified the new agreements by 1 October.

 Faced with a tax on their EU exports if they failed to cooperate, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Kenya all finally agreed to ratify their Economic Partnership Agreements.  

Kenya’s Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Adan Mohamed, said that if he had allowed the EU’s October ultimatum to pass, “Kenyan products would have become un-competitive on the European market, as they would have been taxed at 22%”.

The EPA, obliges it to progressively open its own market to European products.

Critics say the dice are weighted in favour of the EU. The loss of customs revenue, coupled with competition from European products arriving on less development markets, is a major cause for concern.

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